Before a proposed bill - either federal or provincial - is introduced, a policy decision has been made that legislation is necessary. This may be either by way of new legislation or by statutory amendment of existing legislation.
A policy decision may come about in different ways, e.g.:
- based on a government background paper,
- based on a research report commissioned by a Ministry,
- based on a law reform commission report advocating change,
- as a result of a court case pointing to deficiencies in existing legislation, or
- as a result of public pressure from an interest group.
Interest groups include: West Coast Environmental Law, Ecojustice (formerly Sierra Club Legal Defence Fund), Greenpeace Canada and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Look for links to their publications on their websites.
Once the policy decision has been made, the sponsoring Minister prepares a submission to Cabinet, advocating the introduction of a Bill. Once Cabinet gives approval, the Bill is drafted by Legislative Counsel.